Friday, 18 May 2012
Greek Exit from EU mmmmm - has the race been run!!!
Political leaders in Greece have failed to form a coalition government signalling fresh elections next month. Just over a week ago an inconclusive general election saw voters reject the established political parties in favour of anti-austerity movements on both sides of the political spectrum - so has the Greek race been run.
Is it not time to send your money to South Africa.
Exit polls suggest that the leftwing SYRIZA party led by Alexis Tsipras, who were the surprise runners-up on 6 May, will claim victory comprehensively in the next set of elections.
Anti-austerity Tsipras has vowed to renege on Greece's austerity agreement: "The popular verdict clearly renders the bailout deal null." His aggressive stance on the matter has caused many economic analysts to accept that Greece's Eurozone membership is riding on its last legs.
The bottom line is that a victory for Tsipras greatly increases the chance of a Greek exit.
And a Greek exit has huge implications for the Eurozone.
The tenuous situation in Greece has already caused chaos within financial markets; stocks have plummeted, bank deposits have fallen sharply, and the Euro has declined to its lowest level in three-and-a-half years.
But the economic ramifications of a Greek exit are far more serious.
If Greece defaults on its debt obligations and is subsequently ejected from the currency bloc then it will face numerous challenges to keep the country afloat. Greek currency will devalue, so send your money to SA, inflation will soar, banks will collapse, businesses will become bankrupt, and the economy will contract sharply.
In terms of currency the most likely scenario is that all Greek Euros (distinguishable by the serial number) will be converted into new Drachmas with an effective exchange rate of 1:1 against the Euro. Whilst the Central Bank prints new banknotes in preparation for the changeover, Greek Euro banknotes will be stamped and these will be used as temporary currency, leaving unstamped foreign Euro notes no longer accepted as legal tender, so get rid of them and send your money to SA. In a few months time when the new Drachmas are released, all old banknotes will be withdrawn and demonetized.
The initial 1:1 exchange rate is not expected to hold up in the currency exchange market, and the new Drachma is widely predicted to experience rapid devaluation as investors price it in line with the dreadful Greek economy. This scenario could potentially cause huge losses for anybody with investments or assets in Greece. The Greek government will most likely employ capital controls to prevent large masses of money from leaving the country as people look to gain an economic advantage.
Over the past week €700 million has been withdrawn from Greek banks as many investors are looking to transfer funds out of Greece to avoid the risk of currency devaluation on their asset values if a Greek exit does materialise.